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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Orange Poppy-Seed Cake with Berries and Crème Fraîche

I just got back from a wonderful visit to Florida to see my family and friends and had a ton of fun :). I got to spend time sunning myself at the beach AND I finally made it to Harry Potter World in Universal Islands of Adventure-- something I've been wanting to do forever. You see, I am a Harry Potter freak and so my friends and I went to the park on the opening day. After waiting in line for 8 hours, me passing out with heat exhaustion and having to go to the medic room, and a long argument to get our refunds, we saw NOTHING. It was one of the most disappointing experiences of my life. But, I finally got to go and it was really quite fun! However, I do not recommend the Butter Beer. It's ultra weird and has a strange foamy, creamy layer on the top that I was told is a "non-dairy butterscotch flavoring." Ew.

Tomorrow I start my last quarter of college, EVER and I can't freakin' wait to get it over with :P!

So, about this cake... It's pretty amazing. It's fresh and unique and a perfect alternative to a rich, chocolate dessert. The orange syrup that is poured on the cake straight out of the oven gives it an extremely moist texture that can be described as almost pudding-like. The orange-Cointreau macerated berries are a nice counterpoint, and the creamy crème fraîche is a rich, zingy contrast.

Orange Poppy-Seed Cake with Berries and Crème Fraîche
recipe slightly adapted from here


for the cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cups sour cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
for the berries/syrup:
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Cointreau
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cups strips of orange zest
  • 3 cups mixed raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries (strawberries should be halved or quartered)
  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • crème fraîche, to serve
for the syrup:
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, Cointreau, 3 tbsp sugar, and strips of orange zest over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5-10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat.
  2. Fish out the zest strips with a fork and discard. Pour 1/3 cup of the syrup into a bowl and reserve the rest for the cake.
  3. Add the berries to the bowl with the 1/3 cup syrup and place in the fridge, covered, to macerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
for the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 or 10-inch springform pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and poppy seeds. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sour cream, and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, 1 cup of the sugar, and orange zest for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Alternately add in the flour mixture and yolk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition.
  5. In another bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks. Add in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, a little at a time, and beat until stiff peaks.
  6. Stir 1/3 of the meringue into the cake batter and then gently fold in the remainder.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, poke the top all over and brush the top with 1/2 of the reserved syrup. Let stand for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the side of the pan and remove the cake. Invert it on a rack and poke the bottom all over. Brush the remaining syrup over it, re-invert the cake on another rack or plate, and let stand until entirely cool. (You can keep the cake like this wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for a day before serving.)
  9. Before serving, sift confectioners' sugar over the top and serve with the macerated berries and crème fraîche.


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